Attorneys for two victims who were brutally stabbed inside a downtown Los Angeles Target store have filed a lawsuit against the retail giant, the security company, and the property owner for failing to properly provide risk assessment of hazardous conditions and failing to provide adequate safety measures at the popular FIGat7th location.
Filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the lawsuits allege that on the evening of November 15, 2022 a deranged homeless man walked freely into the Target store located at Figueroa and 7th Street in downtown Los Angeles where he grabbed a butcher knife with a 9-inch blade easily off a shelf and proceeded to brutally attack two customers before he was belatedly shot by the security guard.
Plaintiffs, 9-year-old Brayden Medina and his mother Teresa Molina Gallegos, as well as Plaintiff Joo Hye Song, are represented by Rahul Ravipudi and Robert Glassman of Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP. Plaintiffs Medina and Gallegos are also represented in the matter by co-counsel, Ari Ebrahimian and David Lavi of E & L, LLP.
“In today’s times, especially in downtown Los Angeles, this type of brutal attack carried out by a deranged homeless man is unfortunately a foreseeable consequence of not prioritizing public safety first. This is especially true when you operate a popular business in a known high crime area and leave butcher knives out in the open for anyone to grab at any time. It is simply unacceptable that our clients were exposed to such reckless behavior by the defendants. We will hold them accountable for their extraordinary negligence,” said firm partner, Robert Glassman.
Brayden Medina was with his mother when he was first confronted by the homeless man who was repeatedly telling him that he was going to “stab and kill” him, as reported by LAPD Chief Michael Moore. As he tried to escape, neither the armed security guard nor anyone working at the store came to the child’s (or his mother’s) rescue before he was stabbed. Medina’s mother watched in horror as her son lay on the ground, covered in blood and unable to move from the multiple stab wounds.
The attacker, still armed with a butcher knife, then continued to walk freely around the store where he encountered and attacked his second victim, Joo Hye Song. Again, neither the armed security guard nor anyone working at the store came to her aid before she too was brutally stabbed. The attacker was subsequently shot by security and later died.
As noted in the complaint, following the subject incident, it is believed that the knives at Target were locked behind a display case—a safety measure that should have already been in place before this tragedy occurred.
Defendants owed a duty of care to all people who patronized the FIGat7th Target store and a duty to take reasonable steps to secure common areas against foreseeable criminal acts of third parties that would likely occur if those steps weren’t taken.
Plaintiffs allege defendants breached their duty of care when they carelessly and negligently “(1) failed to adequately assess the risks, or to assess the risks at all, of conditions, relating to the open and accessible knife display from which the perpetrator took the knife, that posed a risk of injury or death to persons such as Plaintiffs (2) failed to properly perform risk assessments to detect hazardous conditions and/or target areas to prevent the risk of harm from hazardous conditions, including but not limited to, the open and accessible knife display from which the perpetrator took the knife, to persons such as Plaintiffs, (3) failed to adequately supervise the hazardous condition, which Defendants knew or should have known to be a hazardous condition, (4) failed to provide personnel qualified and competent to provide safety and security to persons such as Plaintiffs, especially given the prevalence of homeless people in the area and (5) failed to properly train, hire, control, or supervise security personnel meant to provide and ensure the safety and protection of persons like Plaintiffs.”
Plaintiffs are seeking general damages including but not limited to, past and future physical pain and mental suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, physical impairment, inconvenience, grief, anxiety, humiliation, and emotional distress, among others, as well as special damages including but not limited to, past and future hospital, medical, professional, and incidental expenses, as well as past and future loss of earnings, loss of opportunity, and loss of earning capacity, in excess of the jurisdictional minimum, according to proof. Plaintiff Gallego is also seeking serious emotional distress damages as a result of seeing her son be brutally attacked.
A trial date has been set in both cases for September 24, 2024.